Good day everyone!
I hope all has been well on your health and wellness journey! We have been seeing a great deal of progress here at Primitive Movement. Many on our team are seeing gains in weight loss, increased strength and muscle tone, lean body mass development, and improvement in overall quality of life. And this has all come from a place of deep healing and focus on the individual’s “self”. What this means is that we take the mindset shift approach not only in our fitness goals, but health and wellness goals as a whole. Meaning we have to establish a better conversation and environment with ourselves in order to see a true change in our lives. If we are to really commit to this lifestyle that will continue to give us results as long as we make the choice to invest in ourselves wholeheartedly then there has to be healthy communication going on with each part of the process. This includes how we interact with the equipment, others, and ourselves while we’re at the gym, field, court, etc. How we speak to ourselves in regards to our goals and how patient or harsh we speak to ourselves when we fall off meal prepping, lack adequate sleep, or fall short on hydration or any part of ourselves in our career or personal life. This includes things such as establishing and maintaining healthy relationships with those around us. These all play a massive role in how successful we will be in our adherence to our goals. However, even though we can have all the right intentions, ideas, and mindset we can still fall into the pit of despair and into old habits that don’t keep us on our path to greatness. So how do we do it?! How do we stay focused and 100% disciplined? The long and short answer is we follow the process that involves making small daily improvements that will build a lifetime of healthy choices. However, this is easier said than done. It can be refreshing and equally frustrating to improve how we care for ourselves mentally. And I say this for a variety of reasons. Firstly, we seem to have created quite the disparity in our current culture and society. I mention this in regards to the self help, self love, and growth mindset culture that has developed in the recent decade or so especially. And even with seeing large growth in this market we still find many individuals living with high amounts of stress, anxiety, and depression. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America reported that anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., and affect 40 million adults age 18 and older. This is equal to 18.1% of the population. Nearly one in five individuals in the U.S. are affected by anxiety.
We have access to more information and “self help” than ever via the interwebs and YouTubes so why is this still such a prominent issue? There are many factors to take into account when dealing with anything on our health and wellness journey. And when we look into each person’s individual needs it only adds to the variability. However, the main approach we like to take here at Primitive Movement is a commonsensical one. Commonsensical to the point of extreme ownership (control the variables in your life that YOU yourself can control, everything else we can only adapt to) and focus on improving on that model on a gradual and steady slope of progression. Along this progression there will be bumps. You will take steps back and fall into old habits, but it is winning the ongoing battle of buying into your future self (the person you agreed at the beginning of your journey to grow into) that will lead you straight up that gradual climb.
Now let’s get into the nitty gritty science portion of it all! When we put our functional medicine lens on there are a few things that we must take into account to ensure that we are looking at creating a healthy mindset from every angle. Let’s start with what affects the developing mind. We know our environment plays a huge role, so much so that growing up in a household or community where frequent trauma is experienced can leave many people mentally shattered for years, decades, or even a lifetime. The things we experience around us not only as we grow but on a daily basis will contribute to how we develop. The things we listen to and watch, including; music, movies, shows, family arguments, family coming together and embracing and uplifting each other, relationships with friends, work environments, etc. All these have a tremendous effect on us because they shape the conversations that we have with ourselves. And in turn how we perceive ourselves in our environments and our relationships with those around us affects our biochemistry. This includes the hormonal and chemical messengers that our brain is releasing constantly to communicate with the rest of the body. If the brain is constantly releasing stress hormones (cortisol) in regards to being in a high stress environment with others who feed anxiety and fear into us then our overall being will exhibit symptoms to show these effects. The constant communication of fear, stress, trauma, anxiety, etc will deteriorate our mind and body. What this looks like physiologically is a weakened immune system, lacking metabolism that cannot efficiently break down or absorb nutrients (weight gain in the form of fat mass and muscle wasting/catabolism), undereating from lack of hunger cues, sleep deprivation, and anxiety and depressive episodes from not being able to differentiate what is right from wrong. These are all physiological outcomes that may arise from a toxic environment plaguing the mind. So you might be asking how do we battle this?
There’s quite a lot that needs to be done in the grand scheme of things. Firstly, we must establish an anchor. A reason for us to be driving toward our goal and something to align with especially when we start to slip. This has to act as a disruptor, meaning it can’t be something we normally see or use as it will not change any patterns or habits we’ve already established. This can be something like placing a sticky note in an area we frequent with a phrase or quote. Something we’re forced to see daily is the purpose of this item. This can be something as simple as a sticky note that we place on the headboard, a desk, or in your car so you’re forced to see it everyday. Write your goals, affirmations of your actions, or a motivational quote that will help you stay focused and diligent. It will also reinforce that positive self talk that is of utmost importance. As you are feeding affirmations into your mind you must also feed the body with proper fuel. The brain has been shown to use as much as half, and possibly more, of the glucose we feed our body. Meaning half of the sugars (simple carbohydrates) we feed the body help the brain function. The reason behind this is the brain needs to be able to work extremely quickly to continuously communicate using neurotransmitters and glucose allows a readily available energy source. Along with this we have the importance of electrolytes. Electrolytes are the lifeblood of what allows the neural synapses, or neuronal junctions (site of transmission between two nerve cells) to occur in our brain and every other neuromuscular activity in our body. That includes moving and exercising as well. So electrolytes allow for any signal to be transmitted in the body, and especially the brain, as the whole purpose of our bodies is to be a protective vessel for our brain. The brain can care less about what kind of strength gains, size gains, or weight loss gains you have in mind if you are not feeding “it” first. It always gets its cut first. Therefore making sure we are receiving an abundance of not only hydration, but proper electrolyte balance is key. Overall we need at the minimum 1,500 mg of sodium per day, but if you are an athlete that number can climb anywhere from 2,500 – 5,000 mg per day depending on how active the individual and how much perspiration is happening. Sodium is the most important; but others such as chloride, magnesium, potassium, and calcium are still extremely important and the body asks for each one in varying quantities for varying functions.
Each micro and macronutrient has an important role in your body. B-vitamins help work the metabolism by assisting in converting food into energy, creating new blood cells, maintaining healthy skin and brain cells, along with a slew of other functions. Vitamin D helps regulate the amount of calcium and phosphate in the blood (two electrolytes) which are needed to keep healthy bones, teeth, and muscles. And Iron is key in keeping red blood cells strong through hemoglobin as well as muscle cells known as myoglobin. Hemoglobin is extremely essential as well, as it transfers oxygen in your blood from the lungs to tissues throughout such as muscles and organs. This is only to name a few, we should already know what our macronutrients do. Protein is effective in repairing damaged (sore and broken down muscle tissue from training) muscle and growing it and making it stronger. Carbohydrates are the primary source of energy not only when training but when moving in our environment as a whole. And fat functions in a great variety of ways including energy storage, insulate and protect organs and joints, and regulate and signal hormones to name a few. There is a great amount of information we can dive into in regards to diet and most importantly the goal should always be to find what works best with you through your doctor, dietician, coach/trainer, or any certified professional. The most important part being that we should be eating for performance and not pleasure. How do you want to feel after a meal? Lethargic, lazy, tired, down on energy? Or energized, ready to continue your day, and full of life? And in that thought process alone we are able to see just how diet can adversely affect our hormones and how we feel about ourselves. If you already suffer from being in an environment that doesn’t uplift you, surrounded by people who don’t nourish your mind and capabilities and you’re eating garbage how do you expect to see a change?? This is everything you are intaking. And if you are not pouring high quality fuel into yourself to help you start or continue to make progress then what are you doing? However, I do understand that most of the time we can’t expect to see a complete 180 switch-aroo, as we know circumstances are not always ideal. Perhaps we can’t switch our environment as we can’t afford to live elsewhere. But we can sure as hell make the choice to eat better and think better of ourselves.
Overall what this boils down to is making the choice to do all three of these things consistently. Maybe not always, but most of the time. We all fall off and fall short at times, but as long as you remember to make the choice to choose the better version of yourself you said you will grow into then that’s what is most important. The goal is to increase the rate in which we choose this path and decrease our rate of falling off. The three things that I believe every self help or self growth guru, therapist, or doctor wants everyone to adopt is a shift in your mindset, staying disciplined (not motivated, that does fade. Always choose your best self for the long term not the short term reward), and EXECUTING. Understand that I am screaming at the top of my lungs with this last point. And this is because I have worked with countless amounts of people, seen friends and family suffer, and the communities around me suffer from the simple fact that they see, read, or learn of one, two, five, ten examples of how to improve oneself…but they don’t do it! Many times the book you read first is still saying the same as the second and third book with perhaps different context and undertone but it is still the same information. Same goes with the podcast you listened to who featured that doctor, psychologist, or self help expert. The glory isn’t in the results they speak of. The end result so many of us cling onto. Instead learn to instill in your mind the understanding that the glory and reward is in the fact that you simply started. You made the choice to change your identity, and create an environment and an internal conversation that was more nourishing and fruitful. And in doing so you are on a path to creating a cascading effect that’s already, in itself, becoming that reward.
This is the first thing we change at Primitive Movement, and I urge all of you to do the same. Start with that internal dialogue, reshape your environment, invest in your self education, and add color to your plate and your palate in the form of a variety of veggies, fruits, lean meats and clean carbs and fats. In doing so you are making the statement to yourself that you are valuable enough to invest in your mind and body, and you want to FEEL and PERFORM better in every walk of life. I hope you enjoyed the “slightly” detailed breakdown of how our physiology is affected with adequate sleep, fuel, and a nourishing environment; but I must leave you with some homework on this one. By all means, take it upon yourself to reshape the way you think of yourself and your environment (it all falls on you to fix at the end of the day), stay disciplined, and for the love of all that is holy in this world….EXECUTE BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY! We will revisit this frequently with a deeper understanding of how to fine tune each segment of our health with the overall goal to see a complete change at 6 months.
As always I enjoyed our discussion and I hope you found it equally helpful! Have a great rest of the day and I look forward to our next discussion!
Blessings, Coach Adan Martinez.